Outsider…the other O

There are times when we all feel like outsiders in our own lives – like our world belongs to someone else.

In December, the beloved dog of one of my childhood friends died while at Petco, waiting to be groomed.  My friend, Joe, and his wife have been trying to find out what happened.  They are being stonewalled by Petco with inconsistent statements and broken promises for information.

Surreal is a gross understatement for how Joe and Cindy are feeling right now.  How is it even possible that taking your dog to the groomer can completely blow up your life?  And yet, it has.  Suddenly, without warning, they are on the outside of their lives, disconnected from everything that was normal the day before Skip died.

The random events that take us out of our bubble aren’t always catastrophic like the loss of a family member or pet.  Sometimes we are simply moving so fast in one direction that we don’t stop long enough to see the big picture of what is happening around us and *poof* that randomness happens and we suddenly feel outside.

Far too often, I see business owners who are on the outside looking in at their business and not quite sure what the next step should be.  Far too often, the reason has to do with money – the dreaded numbers.

Last week I had coffee with a client.  His business is doing really well and there is a very good chance he will be transitioning away from LDI in the coming months.  I am thrilled for him.

As we are catching up on life and business, he tells me some of the challenges that he has had in the last year – none of which have anything to do with his business.  He knows the company is doing well and yet, he feels disconnected from it.  He feels like he is on the outside of his own company, watching it grow and become more successful and not feeling like it has anything to do with him. For years, he did it all himself – he was the chief, the cook and the bottle washer in his company.  Suddenly, he feels like the company is moving along without him.  He doesn’t know quite what to do.

Many would call that a quality problem to have…a business that is flourishing without having to micromanage every aspect.  For business owners who have been “doing it all” to suddenly feel like they are doing nothing though, it is terrifying.

It really is about knowing your numbers – having systems in place so that you can move from being a technician or, “having a job” to running your company…working ON your business, rather than IN your business.

By the time we finished our coffee, I had connected him to a bookkeeper and a financial advisor who will be able to help him get a handle on his numbers – what is happening IN his business so that he can make strategic decisions and work ON the business.

The lessons:

When you find yourself on the outside of your own life looking in, take the time to LOOK IN!


It is OK (and, dare I say, normal) to feel like an outsider sometimes,


If your goal is to be the Chief, hire someone to do the cooking and bottle washing.

Bonus lesson,

Always take time to stop and smell the roses – it is only way to ensure that the weeds don’t overtake the garden.